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The Crack Magazine

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Diasporic Narratives, You Say

Emii Alrai’s exhibition at Workplace Foundation weaves together diasporic narratives referencing ancient mythology, heritage and post-colonial museum collections and displays.

There’s been an increasing amount of attention given in recent years to appropriation and object displays in western museums, and Emii Alrai’s ‘Reverse Defence’ examines this ongoing dialogue. Her work uses techniques of forgery and mimicry, creating ceramics and sculpture that use everyday materials to refer to artefacts and archaeological digs. Traditional willow weaving techniques have been reimagined in cardboard, while straw and plaster have been used to emulate traditional techniques of wattle and daub. The work brings together multiple narratives to create an installation that positions the viewer as intruder, hunter or voyeur. Using medieval hunting arenas as a starting point, a maze like structure houses sculptures punctured by arrows.

Emii Alrai: Reverse Defence, until 8 October, Workplace Foundation, Newcastle.